"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Friday, October 31, 2008

10/31 A Political Evolution & Decision

Four years ago I could be considered a Democrat, and I still have a few of the same core beliefs, although I consider them more "populist" than "liberal", as vague as that term is. Health care, the "Justice" System; defining a person's worth as "Human Kapital" for example.

"Need a lawyer? NO MONEY???? f--- YOU! Off to jail!"

My views have gone 180 on guns. I was thrilled when I heard Ron Paul (I think) actually express why the 2nd Amendment's there, then watching the rest of the "conservatives" shout him down sealed the deal for me.

I believe the "tribute" system of income tax should be abolished if that "tax" money is going to be used to simply further enrich the economic elites and to invade nations who never attacked us... first in the name of "national security", then when no weapons threat is found, "spreading democracy." I'm not so sure it's Democracy they've been spreading... perhaps it's economic and social syphilis.

I'm one of the few Southwest Gringos of the opinion that the illegal immigrant "problem" we have is of our own doing. After 100 years of
economic colonization in Latin America, and suppressing entire economies, why should we be surprised that these people are making their way here? I love hearing Rednecks bitch about Mexicans working on some fruit farm, then "sending their money home"... when we've been doing the same thing, on a corporate scale, for decades. What, Billy Bob, would YOU do if you were them?

Illegal Immigration IS a problem, and I'm surprised to not hear more about THEIR effect on this "mortgage meltdown". I spent parts of two years ('06- '08) helping a friend maintain repossessed houses in Denver, and business was booming! It seemed that 1 in 2 or 3 was immigrant- related. The mortgage companies would give loans to illegals that NEVER had any intention of paying beyond a month or two! Tell me, oh! free- market capitalists, whose fault is that? Do you expect those being handed the loans to police YOUR lending practices? HA!

we just handed them $700b... I guess so! Remember that term "Corporate Socialism" I lobbed your way back in July? I expect the pundits to begin paying royalties any day now!

Now, how does one reconcile social liberalism (populism) with the TRUE conservative ideals surrounding civil liberty? Don't think too long on that... there is no real answer. The "either/ or" dialectic; black and white choices take over.

No, thanks.

I simply don't believe in the presented,
apparently accepted dialectic. That being the case, I think it's my duty to abstain.

MLK, Gandhi, and thus by extension Thoreau, are the three people I respect most and the three I use as examples most often, and it's not coincidence that King and Gandhi are the two individuals that accomplished, what I consider, the most significant "change" of the 20th century. Neither did it by quietly 'requesting' policy change because all three knew something very important: that quietly requesting "change" in the status quo wasn't enough-
it took a significant portion of the populace to loudly, yet peacefully, demand it; making it known that they were NOT going to trust and wait for the system to "change itself". They would have been the Libertarians of their time: waiting for the gold- plated invitation to the ball... while those already there laughed at the notion!

Don't get me wrong, by no means are voting and protesting, in whatever way you choose, mutually exclusive. I take Thoreau's approach, and encourage others to do the same. Rather than trying to convince the world of my "righteousness" and drag them along, I do what I think is right and seek out those who feel the same. That mindset, and the willingness to walk alone, has helped me to realize that I am
FAR from "walking alone." The vast majority of people that I met on my little "walkabout" obviously felt the same way, but were afraid to express it out of fear of being seen as "UN- American" or "nuts." Nuts because they see through the charade? Wow.

One of Thoreau's themes that Gandhi, and thus King, utilized was "withdrawing support"; Civil Disobedience. In other words, not just accepting what piecemeal they're handing you and saying "
Thanks! More please?" By that rationale, King would have never marched, Rosa Parks would have moved to the back, and Gandhi would have never begun in South Africa. They would have just let Whitey "vote" and and "hoped" for the best. There are many ways to withdraw support, but the basic idea is that if you disagree with something, you don't perpetuate it by participating.
"Any fool can make a law, and any fool will follow it."

I believe we've "hoped for the best" and quietly accepted their offerings long enough. After the Republican's blatant disdain for American Constitutional Values, after watching Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the "opposition party" operate for two years, THEN watching both parties "come together" to offer a massive bailout to Wall Street, I have no use for any of them if THIS was their example of bipartisanship, and believe that as long as this two- party farce remains, that
Lenin was right: "Democracy only provides the illusion of choice. The real decisions are made in the smoke- filled back rooms." In that sense, seeing NO political party that represents my interests, and seeing the two primary parties as factions of the same, I choose to offer my support for: neither.

I no longer believe that 50-60% stay home due simply to apathy. They remain uninspired, and know that which faction they choose will make little, if any, difference at all. Considering this, it's abhorrent that we have third, fourth, and fifth parties out there that refuse to DEMAND that they are part of the discussion. But, that's a bit difficult with Corporate Media, isn't it?

As for that supposed "civic duty of voting", I reserve the right to vote if I choose to. I welcome criticism of this decision because it wasn't come to lightly, and it's something that SHOULD be publicly discussed. I'm obviously NOT the only one considering this, but when I hear that "duty" argument, which I have from innumerable directions, I think of
American Idol and Dancing With the Stars. People caught up in meaningless, mindless entertainment and convincing themselves that the results matter. How many 13 year old girls treat the latest "Idol Heartthrob" in the same fashion some voters treat their demagogues? (And that's EXACTLY what they are.)

Obviously, I don't see any of the candidates as anything more than meat- puppets propped up to pacify the public with the illusion of choice. The campaigns have
become "Extreme Reality TV." "Discourse" has degenerated to the laughable, where a VP candidate is chosen because she's "hot" and is presented as ignorant enough to "relate" to the ignorant masses. Degenerated to the point where neither candidate is willing to actually express ANYTHING beyond broad, pollyanic generalities, and Happy Talk for the future... because they DON'T HAVE TO. No one holds them accountable. How many times at ANY of the debates did an answer SCREAM for a follow- up???? Like American Idol however, "TV Time" is king. King because the politicos and TV execs assume that the masses don't have the attention span to pay attention to detail. All they need to do is drop the next Bill Ayers or Troopergate distraction bomb... and they're relieved of the need to answer ANY topical questions. Want the punditry to ask them? HA! They offer simple agenda- fed "commentary", then parade the campaign's "spin doctors" onto the screen to disseminate their particular brand of propaganda. It's all designed to engage the public in prefabricated, fallacious, meaningless dialectic. They just call it "narrative", with next to no resistance from that little aspect of a "democracy" that the founders thought was essential to its survival: the "free", vigilant press.

If you want to remain enthralled in this season of "Political Idol",
hoping that your dreamy contestant wins, that's fine. I wont criticize you, and it IS the noble, some say even even responsible thing to do. My question is this: Where does TRUE responsibility lie? To party? System? Country? Or, your own personal beliefs as a sovereign human being: Principles? What if you were expected to choose urine- soup or feces- stew for dinner, and expected to be thankful for the privilege of choosing? Would you leave the table? Or would you try to decide what you're "hungry" for before eagerly digging in?

I personally don't see this election as changing anything, or even more significant, in the grand scope of things, than if Ruben or Carrie won, or if Emmit Smith can boogie. The country will continue on it's predetermined course...

If you think that independent- abstention is the "easy" route, you're mistaken. It was much easier to rely on the Liberal talking points to decide what I thought when I was an anti- Republican Democrat. It gets a bit more complicated when you're forced to evaluate what YOU think rather than what your adopted ideology tells you that you SHOULD, and when there are no symbolic "weather vanes" to look to for guidance. Not to mention the fact that the
herd mentality is gone, and you cannot gain refuge in the fact that there are millions of others following the same ideological- messiah you are. No my friend, this is NOT the easy road for a person who actually CARES about what's happening... but, and take it for what it's worth... I think it's the ONLY road for that person. Even if it leads him back "home", it should be traveled.

It is important to be able to differentiate between "country" and "government", and avoid mistaking dissent and 'withdrawal of support' for something akin to "civic treason." I love my country, apparently more than most people. Enough to try to stay "involved" while not accepting that this "is as good as it gets", or that
this is the acceptable moral peak of a just society. I believe in the idea of this country enough to step out onto the fringes... alone... to seek out SOMEONE who is capable of leading us there, rather than settling for the political Extra Value Meal.

The years since 9/11 have disturbed me enough to seek real solutions, rather than
taking what I consider the easy way out: compromising for the sake of an easy, politically correct action and decision. It disturbs me to no end to see what's happening to America, and what's being done to it by this factional monopoly.

But, you know? It may surprise you to hear that I'm
NOT a cynic!! I believe there is "hope". If I didn't, I wouldn't bother with things like this; conversations, discussion, and reassuring others that they are NOT diluted for feeling that they deserve better IS an important part of the process. The Internet hearkens back to the Salon Days... when people would get together, exposing themselves to different perspectives.

Being a responsible, involved, citizen/ patriot is more than punching the prearranged ballot, then hoisting your chin into the air because "you decided!" Sometimes being a true patriot (as opposed to Nationalist) is having the courage to stand the fuck up, sometimes even metaphorically, and shouting that there is something desperately WRONG. Then, being willing to do something about it... whatever it is that you are capable of.

A friend wrote:
But, the only thing [you] CAN shout from the sidelines is that the whole thing is a fraud. Because the minute he deals with specifics, he has engaged in the charade himself, making it relevant and important.
There are few things I'm absolutely sure of, but one of them is that I take my marching orders, or speaking cues from no one. I'll speak my mind, shout my opinions, and I will feel justified to do so, even if you believe otherwise. I haven't renounced my citizenship, and my First Amendment RIGHT is STILL just as legitimate as yours. Like it or not, I won't buy into that "love it or leave it" bullshit.

I understand that seemingly institutional mentality that wants to keep us confined within that little box, but I'll step outside of it when, where, and how I choose. Like it or not, I am voicing the frustrations of the majority, rather it's acceptable, tactically, to you or not. I suppose I could take the same stance, and tell you that your commentary should be confined to L/R dialectics and political tactics because you reject the theory that there's ANYTHING better possible... except through the hope that the establishment will deliver it... in time. Let me know how that works out for you.

That being said, the vast majority of us are ultimately on the same team, regardless of affiliations. Most liberals, conservatives... we all want what's best for the country. It's usually the party "loyalists" who descend into the gutter... lobbing "terrorist", and "Socialist" around, or dredging up the latest dirty quotes from their disinformation sites. I have no disrespect in my heart for those that disagree with me... as long as they are thinking for themselves.

I read a comment as to how, much like the aftermath of 9/11 and in the face of the financial meltdown, we were beginning to see each other as Americans rather than political opponents. I applaud that sentiment, and halfheartedly agree. People are beginning to see the "enemy" as the government and politicians themselves. No, not the those we see plastered on TV, or canvassing for the Chosen One... but "Genuine" Americans. (There, now fuck off Sarah.)

My challenge goes a bit further: Demand the leadership you deserve... rather than homogenized, rhetoric- filled, anesthetic that simply allows us to continue down the same path when it wears off. If you feel that voting "against" someone is the way to go... DO IT! If you believe that continuing to vote for the lesser of two evils is the solution... DO IT! Call me "elitist" if you like, I happen to believe that standing on principle MEANS something, if for no other reason than to offer yourself as an example to others.